Jeff Edwards is a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer, and an Anti-Submarine Warfare Specialist. He is currently working as a civilian expert consultant to the Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Command, the Navy's think tank for high-tech undersea warfare. His naval career spanned more than two decades and half the globe -- from chasing Soviet nuclear attack submarines during the Cold War, to launching cruise missiles in the Persian Gulf.
He puts his extensive experience as a Surface
Warfare specialist to work in his new novel,
In a plot that could easily be ripped from
today's headlines, TORPEDO combines an accident
at a nuclear power plant, an illegal arms
deal, and a biological warfare attack, to
ignite a crisis that could draw Western Europe,
the Middle East, and the United States into
all-out war. TORPEDO mixes the elements of
a classic sea chase novel with state-of-the-art
technology to create a cutting-edge Surface
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America's military can win wars. We've done it in the past, and I have absolute confidence that we'll continue to do it in the future. We've won fights in which we possessed overwhelming technological superiority (Desert Storm), as well as conflicts in which we were the technical underdogs (the American Revolution). We've crossed swords with numerically superior foes, and with militaries a fraction of the size of our own. We've battled on our own soil, and on the soil of foreign lands -- on the sea, under the sea, and in the skies. We've even engaged in a bit of cyber-combat, way out there on the electronic frontier. At one time or another, we've done battle under just about every circumstance imaginable, armed with everything from muskets to cruise missiles. And, somehow, we've managed to do it all with the wrong Army.
That's right, America has the wrong Army. I don't know how it happened, but it did. We have the wrong Army. It's too small; it's not deployed properly; it's inadequately trained, and it doesn't have the right sort of logistical support. It's a shambles. I have no idea how those guys even manage to fight.
Now, before my brothers and sisters of the OD green persuasion get their fur up, I have another revelation for you. We also have the wrong Navy. And if you want to get down to brass tacks, we've got the wrong Air Force, the wrong Marine Corps, and the wrong Coast Guard.
Don't believe me? Pick up a newspaper or turn on your television. In the past week, I've watched or read at least a dozen commentaries on the strength, size, and deployment of our military forces. All of our uniform services get called on the carpet for different reasons, but our critics unanimously agree that we're doing pretty much everything wrong.
I think it's sort of a game. The critics won't tell you what the game is called, so I've taken the liberty of naming it myself. I call it the 'No Right Answer' game. It's easy to play, and it must be a lot of fun because politicos and journalists can't stop playing it.
I'll teach you the rules. Here's Rule #1: No matter how the U.S. military is organized, it's the wrong force.
Actually, that's the only rule in this game. We don't really need any other rules, because that one applies in all possible situations. Allow me to demonstrate...
If the Air Force's fighter jets are showing their age, critics will tell us that Air Force leaders are mismanaging their assets, and endangering the safety of their personnel. If the Air Force attempts to procure new fighter jets, they are shopping for toys and that money could be spent better elsewhere. Are you getting the hang of the game yet? It's easy; keeping old planes is the wrong answer, but getting new planes is also the wrong answer. There is no right answer, not ever. Isn't that fun?
It works everywhere. When the Army is small, it's TOO small. Then we start to hear phrases like 'over-extended' or 'spread too thin,' and the integrity of our national defense is called into question. When the Army is large, it's TOO large, and it's an unnecessary drain on our economy. Terms like 'dead weight,' and 'dead wood' get thrown around.
I know what you're thinking. We could build a medium-sized Army, and everyone would be happy. Think again. A medium-sized Army is too small to deal with large scale conflicts, and too large to keep military spending properly muzzled. The naysayers will attack any middle of the road solution anyway, on the grounds that it lacks a coherent strategy. So small is wrong, large is wrong, and medium-sized is also wrong. Now you're starting to understand the game. Is this fun, or what?